This brand might not be so new to those living in Tokyo, but recently niko and… is starting to come into its own as it finds its identity and finds a market for itself. Like so many other Japanese fashion and lifestyle companies such as BEAMS and MUJI, it combines lifestyle concept with fashion style in an attempt to create a complete lifestyle philosophy around which to build its range of products. Now, with more new stores, a series of TV adverts and an online shop, they’re set to become the next big thing. It’s more expensive than some comparable stores, but not overly so, and offers some great stuff in this year’s Autumn/Winter range, recently picked up by and featured in Monocle Magazine. Temperatures are dropping here in Tokyo and I’m thinking of moving house soon, so I can see me buying quite a lot of stuff from the Niko and… online shop in the coming weeks and months. If you’re able to do so, take a look in one of their stores in either Ikebukuro’s Parco, Ebisu, or Kita-senju’s Marui.
In Shimoktazawa (where else?) you can find a store called Wakadaisho, stocking retro skate clothing and accessories. They even have late 1980’s Vision Street Wear sneakers and Santa Cruz screaming hand T-shirts. Powell Perelta’s great logo T’s are also on offer, so for me, this is a must visit on my next trip to Shimokitazawa.
When I bought my UT Four Tet T-shirt the other week, the bag was advertising a new Dougenzaka branch. A little research on the internet confirmed this. There’s now a big Uniqlo on the Dougenzaka thoroughfare of Shibuya. With all the Uniqlo stores dotted around Tokyo, you’d think this was of very little importance unless you live near in or around Shibuya, but I’ve noticed that the big stores do tend to cater for their respective neighbourhoods. It’s the same with other ‘fast fashion’ brands like H&M – Harajuku is stocked differently to Ginza. Also, in the smaller stores, popular items sell out fast, whereas you have more chance of finding the best of the new season at the really big stores in Shinjuku, Ginza, Shibuya and the speciality UT (Uniqlo T-Shirts) store in Harajuku.
This new store opened just this month, on the 5th of March and is being referred to as the new Uniqlo flagship store. It’s attached to Shibuya Station apparently although I’m not sure yet as I haven’t checked this out for myself. It’s also rumoured to be stocking items only usually sold in the London stores (although I think this may have been a limited offer and may already be over). On top of this, it’s supposed to also specialise in the sale of Uniqlo’s range of jeans, UJ.
Some Uniqlo news now. I was in the newly expanded Ginza branch yesterday and had the good fortune to see the new +J line of clothing at the back of the new mens’ section. I tried on some of the outerwear, and I liked it very much. Although I didn’t buy anything (yet), I was taken by the fine tailoring and the details. This lead me inevitably back to the Japanese Uniqlo website where I saw the new Flash toy launched this Autumn – Uniqlo Tunes. It plays video in time with MP3’s, and you can even upload your own. As usual you have the option of integrating it into your blog. This new music toy joins a small collection of other Uniqlo Flash virals and microsites.
I love Monocle. So I was interested when I saw this Monocle x Beams collaboration watch while on a shopping spree in Tokyo’s Ginza district on Saturday. I didn’t buy one, but it should be noted that Ginza Beams does a good line in skinny fit jeans.
UPDATE: The pic on the left was shot at the store using my mobile phone.
Porter is a brand of luggage, bags, wallets and accessories from Yoshida Co. in Tokyo. People familiar with them will know that they are renowned for their high quality and high price, but in this introduction to the brand, I need to stress just how incredibly high the quality of these bags actually is. Recently, with no intention of actually buying one, I’ve been stopping to admire them at every opportunity. I found a huge range at Tokyu Hands in Ikebukuro (Sunshine City), and a small traditional bag shop in Ameyayoko-cho packed full of Porter goodness, and every time I see them I go and check them out. The problem is, with such a huge variety and at such a high price, it’s difficult to choose a particular bag. Do you get a Boston bag, which looks amazing, but you couldn’t fit your 15-inch laptop in, or do you get the messenger, which is extremely practical but also extremely boring, or do you go for a rucksack, which is fit for almost any use but seems to lack the brand’s trademark sophistication? This is the main factor behind my inability to buy one. However, I actually found a new line of Porter bags in Ikebukuro’s Parco with anodised blue zips against their trademark graphite which just might have narrowed it down for me. If you want a decent-sized item from the range get at least ¥20,000 at the ready (£127, $210), and put aside at least three hours for the selection process – this brand is prolific.
Yoshida Co. are also the company behind Luggage Label, a similar kind of brand with different motifs and a more military feel. Porter has a flagship store in Harajuku, behind Murasaki Sports, opposite the mouth of Takeshita Dori, called Head Porter. You’ll find the cheapest ones at Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro, and potential buyers should skip the Ameyoko store as everything is overpriced, the display is cluttered and the service is icey cold.
The bag in the pic at the top of this post is an Original Fake x Porter Boston bag (drool).
Uniqlo’s ever popular T-shirt project UT has been going for a while now, but as a recent addition to their plethora of usual outlets, they’ve added this dedicated UT store in Harajuku. It was opened last April, but this is the first time I’ve been there. With temperatures the way they are at the moment I wasn’t planning on buying any T-shirts, I just wanted to check out the store itself. The shop consists of a few racks of T’s and other items, surrounded by a wall of vending machines, above which you have the ticker-tape displays with lines of text making laps of the room as you shop. The vending machines contain the bulk of the T-shirt stock. You choose the one you want, and then out pops the T in the trademark tube-like plastic packaging. I get the feeling they will need an iron once you get the back to your house though. Generally I like the store, so I’ll be back in the spring to pick up some from the manga series.
Here you can see the jewel-encrusted items on sale at Shibuya 109, a large department store consisting of several floors of fashion and accessories aimed at ‘Shibuya boys’ and ‘Shibuya girls’. I can’t remember how much the bike cost, but it was A LOT. Ker-ching.
This is horrible, but just check out Nigo’s pink Bugatti Veyron (Nigo is the head-honcho at Japanese clothing label, Bape). Worst custom paint job ever! (Actually, or should we say thankfully, the car has not been repainted, but just covered in a vinyl wrap – phew.)